Many local investors have missed out on acquiring land and the services that come with establishing themselves in industrial parks because of how Uganda Investment Authority, a statutory body mandated to promote investment in the country, conducts its business.
The latest victim of the fraudulent operations of Uganda Investment Authority is Tirupati Development (U) Ltd which lost a prime land it had fully paid for in Namanve Industrial Park located in Mukono district when the investments agency in bad faith refused to issue them with the land title.
Unhappy with the malicious way Uganda Investment Authority was behaving, Tirupati sought redress in the courts of law to get the land it had duly paid for and even acquired an environment impact assessment certificate from National Environment Management Authority (NEMA).
After a lengthy court battle, the high court in Mukono on Friday 21st July 2023 ruled that Uganda Investment Authority (defendant) defaulted in fulfilling its obligation under the lease agreement to give vacant possession of the said land to Tirupati (plaintiff) as it was required.
“This failure has deprived the plaintiff of its leasehold ownership of the suit land and thus putting the plaintiff’s activities on the suit land at a stand-still,” the ruling issued by Justice Florence Nakachwa, reads, ading, “In the instant case, the plaintiff being the successful party is entitled to the costs of the suit. Having found both issues in the plaintiff’s favour, judgment is hereby entered for the plaintiff and I hold that the defendant is in breach of the lease agreement between it and the plaintiff.”
How it started
In 2008, Tirupati Development Limited applied for allocation of land from Uganda Investment Authority and the request was granted in 2011. In a later dated 26th June 2012, Uganda Investment Authority gave Tirupati an invoice to pay the premium for the land. Tirupati paid the sum.
The land in question is located at Kyagwe Block 113 Plots No. A019 and A020 situated at Namanve – Kiwanga-Mawutu, Nantabulirwa, Goma Division, Mukono Municipality, Mukono district. It measures approximately 1.5 acres and 10 acres respectively.
Through letters dated 28th October 2010 and 5th January 2011, Uganda Investment Authority authorized the Commissioner Land Registration to provide surveying services on behalf of Tirupati in respect of the two plots and Tirupati paid land fees for the surveying to be conducted.
Also, through a letter dated 17th September 2022, Uganda Investment Authority granted permission to Tirupati to take possession of the suit land by fencing and grading it which was done.
After taking possession of the suit land, Tirupati started the process of developing the land by conducting the survey works, obtaining NEMA clearance certificate, obtaining development and building plans which needed certificate of land title before being approved.
However, on several occasions, Tirupati demanded to be given a land tittle to start developing the land but Uganda Investment Authority refused. Instead, Uganda Investment Authority in a fraudulent manner started on a process to allocate the land Tirupati paid for to other parties. This forced Tirupati to go to court for redress.
According to the ruling, the suit land is now registered as Kyaggwe Block 113 Plots 3695, 3736 in the names of Creston Properties Limited. Furthermore, an initial lease agreement was signed between Uganda Investment Authority and Creston Properties Limited on 22/8/2014 and a 49 lease agreement signed on 26th June 2020.